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1. (WO1998052863) NOVEL LIQUID DISPENSING DEVICE AND METHOD OF MAKING SAME
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NOVEL LIQUID DISPENSING DEVICE AND METHOD OF MAKING SAME
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Field of the invention
The present invention relates to novel liquid dispensing devices including spray bottles having pump actuators and aerosol liquid dispensers, and , more particularly, to a liquid dispensing device having a novel pickup tube, and methods of making same.
Description of the prior art
The prior art has recognized the need for a siphon, pickup or dip tube in a dispensing device of the type noted to be capable of tilting to as great an angle as possible, e.g. about 90 degrees. That is, when the dispensing device is tilted, the low free end of the pickup tube tracks a low point in the liquid within the reservoir of the device, which low point migrates about the bottom of the device. Also, the art has recognized the need for a liquid dispensing device capable of 360 degree movement in use. Such dispensing devices are used for a variety of purposes as are well known in the art. Prior art efforts to meet the need for 90 degree operation are exemplied by U. S. Patent No. 5,381,961 which shows two proposals, one being to insert a flexible connection between the pickup tube and the spray head, and the other being to weight the end of a flexible tube forming the siphon or pickup. These proposals suffer the disadvantage that extra parts are required increasing the cost Also, extra labor is required to make such dispensing devices according to these proposals further exacerbating the cost problem concerning these proposals. Consequently, a strong need still exists in the art for a workable, cost and labor effective solution.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Accordingly, the present invention meets the above described need by providing an inventive liquid dispensing device that has a novel pickup tube that is easy to fabricate, has low material cost, does not unduly increase labor cost and most important works effectively. The inventive liquid dispensing device functions in a highly efficiatious and efficient manner. This and other objects of the present invention will become readily apparent from the following detailed description when taken in conjunction with the appended drawings.

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Fig. 1 is a side view in section showing an embodiment of the invention.
Fig.2 is a side view in section showing another embodiment of the invention.
Fig. 3 is a side view in section showing still another embodiment of the invention.
Fig. 4 is a side view partly in section of a spray head usable with the invention.
Fig. 5 is a side view partly in section of another spray head usuable with the invention.
Fig. 6 is a side view broken away showing the novel pickup tube of the present invention.
Fig. 7 is a view like Fig. 2 showing the invention arranged for 360 degree operational movement.
Fig. 8 is a detail of Fig. 7
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS
Referring to Fig. 1, a liquid dispensing device is shown consisting of a known sprayer 10, a container 12 and a semi-rigid to rigid pickup tube 14 which is coupled to the sprayer 10 in any conventional manner, and which extends into the container 12 with its free end 16 terminating adjacent the bottom 18 of the container. Tube 14 may be any known tube for this purpose, may be composed of any suitable material, preferably plastic, such as, polyethylene or polypropylene, and also, may be flexible with a degree of stiffness. As shown, a liquid 20 is contained in the reservoir defined by the container 12, with the free end 16 of the tube 14 immersed in the liquid 20. A tube deformation, generally indicated by the reference numeral 22, is formed in the pickup tube and enables the tube 14 to migrate over the bottom 18 of the container 12 under the influence of gravity. Tube deformation 22 will be described in detail in conjunction with Fig. 6.
Referring to Fig. 2, a liquid dispensing device is shown consisting of a known sprayer 10, a container 30 having a long neck 32, and a pickup tube 34 having a tube deformation 22 located below the neck 32 in the top of the reservoir of the container 30. Referring to Fig. 3, another dispensing device is shown consisting of a sprayer 40, a container 42 and a pickup tube 44. The tube deformation 22 is hidden beneath the screw cap 46 that holds the sprayer 40 on the container 42. Similarly, the sprayers of Fig. 1 and Fig. 2 use screw caps to hold the sprayers on the containers.

Referring to Fig. 4 and Fig. 5, there is shown known sprayers. In Fig.4, the sprayer consists of a sprayhead 60, a rigid connector 68, a suction chamber 62 in a housing 66, and a check valve 64. A semi-rigid pickup tube 70 is connected to the rigid connector 68. In Fig. 5, the sprayhead 80 includes housing 82, suction chamber 84, downtube 86, gasket 88, tube 70, screw cap 90, bottle neck 92, and mating threads 94.
Referring to Fig. 6, the deformation 22 will now be described. As shown, the pickup tube (14, 34, 44, 70) is provided with a deformation 22 intermediate its ends, preferably nearer to and adjacent its top end. Deformation 22 consists of a pair of corrugation-like bulges or protrusions coupled with an intermediate tube section 100. Each bulge consists of a top cylindrical shape in the form of a frustum of a cone 102, a bottom inverted cylindrical shape in the form of a frustrum of a cone 104 and an interconnecting section 106. The small bases 108 and 110 of the top 102 and the bottom 104 are formed as integral continuations of the tube. Also, all parts are integral continuations of the next preceding and next succeeding parts, that is, the bulges are formed out of the original tube. The wall thickness of pickup tubes varies from about .015 to about .050 inches. In the preferred embodiment described, the wall thickness is about .025 inches. The bulges are formed from the original tube by any suitable method, but it is preferred that the bulges be formed by vacuum or blow molding either as a separate operation or as part of the extrusion operation that is used to form the tube. The vacuum or blow molding can be incorporated in the extrusion process of the tube, that is while extruding the tube by the use of a corrugation extrusion machine. The thickness of the walls of the top and bottom 102 and 104 gradually decreases as the top and bottom expand and is an average of about .017 inches, but may vary from about .010 to about .040 inches, and preferably from about .015 to about .020 inches.

The wall thickness of the intermediate section 100 in the preferred embodiment is the original tube wall thickness, namely, about .025 inches. The wall thickness of the interconnecting section 106, which is integrally connected to the large bases 112 and 114 of the top and bottom 102 and 104, is from about .001 to about .007 inches, and preferably, is from about .003 to about .005 inches. In the preferred embodiment described the wall thickness is about .005 inches
The dimensions of the original tube vary and for example the tube may have an internal diameter of from about .05 to about .25 inches, and preferably, an internal diameter of about .120 inches, but this depends upon the viscosity and other properties of the liquid being sprayed or dispensed. Also, an important consideration is the volume that need to be propelled by different kinds of sprayers. The diameter of the large bases 112 and 114 of the top and bottom 102 and 104 vary from about 2 to about 4 times the diameter of the tube, with about 3 times being preferred or whatever expansion is required to produce the thin interconnecting section 106. Also, as a result of the vacuum or blow molding or extrusion process of creating the bulges or corrugations, the wall thickness of the top and bottom 102 and 104 will vary and decrease as it progresses toward the the interconnecting section 106. The axial length of the top and bottom 102 and 104 is about .10 to about .30 inches. The axial length of the intermediate section 100 is from about .02 to about .10 inches or more, and in the preferred embodiment is .055 inches. The axial length of the interconnecting section 106 is from about .02 to about .1 inches and in the preferred embodiment is .040 inches. The axial distance between the bulges from inconnecting part to interconnecting part is from about .22 to about .70 inches and in the preferred embodiment is .270 inches.
The deformation 22 provides a flexible joint that allows the tube to flex at the point of the deformation rather easily. The mechanism, as understood, is that the tube will bend and flex around a pivot established by the interconnecting part 106 of the deformation by the bottom part 104 tucking into the top part 102 on one side while expanding or moving laterally on the other side without any locking, crimping or excessive resistance. Although two bulges are described as the preferred embodiment, only one may be used.
Referring to Figs. 7 and 8, a container 130 is shown provided with a sprayhead 210 that is mounted on the container or bottle 130 by conventional means, such as by screw threads not shown. The head 210 has a short tube 212 which is inserted into the bottle. A special coupling 214 at its top end is press fitted onto the lower end of the tube 212. The bottom end of the coupling 214 is press fitted onto the top end of the dispensing tube 34 which is provided with the corrugations 22 as previously described. The coupling 214 is shown in greater detail in Fig. 8 and consists of a main down tube 216 having a branch tube 218 projecting radially outwardly at an acute angle downwardly when the bottle 130 is in the upright position. This angle may vary from about 30 degrees to about 60 degrees with 45 degrees being preferred. Press fitted in the open end of the branch tube 218 is a duckbill one-way valve 220. The dispensing assembly as described will function at 360 degrees of operation and the dispensing tube with the inventive corrugations will be exceptionally effective up to 90 degrees.
The invention has been described in terms of a preferred embodiment, nevertheless, changes and modifications are possible and will be evident to those skilled in the art which do not depart from the spirit scope and teachings herein. Such changes and modifications are deemed to come within the purview of the invention.